Working out or training fasted.
- Does it work for fat lost?
- Does it hinder your strength and burn your muscle?
- Is it even safe?
I’m sure if you’ve been working out for awhile you have probably heard some talk regarding this subject and these questions.
With that said, I am not here to present a body of evidence for or against fasted exercise, although I do advocate it. All I will do is give you my honest experience training fasted, and the results from it, giving you a new perspective allowing you to determine whether or not it is worth trying for you.
Yes, my experience is anecdotal evidence, but that does not make it useless.
At one time, or another, everything that has been studied in the fitness arena has been anecdotal. That’s why there are studies because someone says this or that works and it is then studied. That said, use my experience for what it’s worth: my experience.
My Fasted Training
Over the last 4 years, I have worked out in a fasted state regularly.
What exactly is considered a fasted state?
To me, fasting is not eating anything for 8 hours or more.
For example, if you stopped eating at 9:00pm and had breakfast the next day at 7:00am, then you would have fasted for 10 hours.
With that said, I have trained fasted for as much as 3 to 4 times per week (currently, I am training twice a week fasted) for approximately the last 4 years. These fasted workouts are the same type of workouts I do if I wasn’t fasting. I’m lifting heavy weights, pushing myself as hard as I can, and not going light.
What has my experience been like?
It’s been great.
How do I measure that?
I measure that based on my level of strength week-to-week, my body composition (weight and body fat percentage), and just how I feel overall the rest of the day compared to other days I do not work out fasted.
I know some of that measure is subjective, but measure nonetheless. During my time training fasted, I’ve kept my level of strength, improved it, and increased my lean muscle mass, as well as endurance.
How do I do I train fasted?
Typically, the night before I exercise fasted, I stop eating anywhere from 8 to 10pm, based upon my current schedule. I typically wake around 7am, and arrive at the gym from 8:30 to 9am. Between that time, I hydrate as soon as I wake by drinking lots of water, usually 32 to 50 ounces, and do some light stretching and mobility exercises before the gym. Next, I drink a branched chain amino acid (BCAA) supplement before I leave.
Once I arrive to the gym, I do my warm-up routine and start my workout. During my workout, I’ll drink plenty of fluids and take more BCAAs to keep going hard until the end. After my workout, I might take more BCAAs or, finally, break my fast and eat a protein bar or my post workout meal (it all depends).
Importance of BCAAs
Now, let me explain to you why I take BCAAs while training fasted.
I’m sure many of you have your own opinion on them, but I do believe they are a supplement worth taking, especially if you are going to work out fasted.
BCAAs are the amino acids that first break down when you start to workout once your muscle begins to break down. They are leucine, isoleucine, and valine, and are essential amino acids. This means they must be obtained through the diet (virtually in all major sources of protein, like any meat, eggs, etc.) and/or supplementation. BCAAs have been heavily studied and have shown to have positive influence on protein synthesis, adding lean muscle mass, and in some instances fighting fatigue during a workout.
From working out fasted and not taking them, to working out fasted and taking them, I do 100% feel a difference.
For example, if I do not take them I notice that I cannot train with as much as intensity. I feel weaker, have less endurance, and do not get as good of a pump if I skip out on them while training fasted. In contrast, when I take them fasted and workout I feel much more alive, energetic, my endurance and strength are at expected levels, and I get a better pump. A noticeable difference.
How do I know?
Lots of experimentation with myself.
This is what works out for me, and taking BCAAs helps me maximize my fasted workouts. I cannot feel weak and not get the work in that I need to, especially if I am going to lift heavy. I do not want any excuses holding me back. I have repeatedly got new PRs training fasted, and BCAAs are a critical factor in that.
The video below is me hitting a new all-time squat PR last week at 385 pounds around 188 pounds body weight (and beltless!).
The squat felt great, even though I had to grind it out. No issues with my back, and all while training fasted with BCAAs.
Fasted Training Benefits
The reason why I train fasted are many, but below are the main reasons why:
- I want to stimulate fat loss.
- I want to challenge my body to perform at different times.
- It is more convenient for me.
- I think it helps increase glucose sensitivity, and elevate testosterone and growth hormone production.
- It helps boosts my metabolism, and maintain a healthy weight for me.
For me, all these benefits are great, and the number one reason why I do fasted workouts is to help stimulate fat-loss and control my weight. The difference is astounding to me, and I love it. I feel leaner afterwards, and I notice that I can keep my weight under control a lot more when I do consistent fasted workouts.
The one thing you and I must do, however, is keep your fasted workouts and the routine you do to prepare for them consistent.
This way, I think, you will have more success in maximizing the benefits of training fasted, while progressing like you want during your training.
Regardless of your experience with fasted workouts, I suggest you re-evaluate your thoughts and give it a shot.
Again, the worst thing you could do is be scared of training fasted. Keep your preparation routines consistent, and prioritize and/or schedule your days to where it fits your calendar. For example, trying intermittent fasting (or feasting, depending how you look at it) will aid in your pursuit of training fasted.
Is it a one-all solution to exponentially improve muscle building, strength, endurance, etc.?
No, but I DO THINK you can feel a significant and positive difference if you do it right.
That is why I highly recommend giving it a shot. It may feel draining at first, but if you make sure to hydrate, take a solid BCAA supplement (I take a brand called Scviation), and do it earlyish in the morning, I think you will really come to like it.
As always, thanks for stopping by and reading. If it calls you please comment down below, and if not a subscriber please subscribe.
Until next time, be strong and be you!
(Photo Credit: Main photo)
(Photo Credit: BCAA)